In our junior youth group meeting this week, we studied some quotes concerning consultation. The girls had no trouble coming up with examples to show their understanding of the principles in the passages. I was impressed.
The first quote we studied was this:
The Great Being saith: The heaven of divine wisdom is illumined with the two luminaries of consultation and compassion. Take ye counsel together in all matters, inasmuch as consultation is the lamp of guidance which leadeth the way, and is the bestower of understanding. ~ Bahá’u’llah
We talked. What is consultation? Consultation is when we come together and talk. But not all forms of talking are consultation: consultation is an effort to gather everyone’s ideas and knowledge, consider all the information objectively, and develop plans and understandings that solve problems and help our conditions improve.
It can take a lot of skill to consult really well, but it’s of extreme importance, because consultation is the antidote to war. You must choose to talk rather than to fight. And how are you going to talk things over, if you’ve already killed your enemy? Even if you’ve only “killed” your enemy mentally or emotionally, it’s going to be hard to talk afterwards.
In our junior youth group, we are practicing consultation as we plan our service projects and then reflect on them afterwards; we are also practicing consultation when we study and then reflect together on the material; we are practicing consultation when we discuss our lives and try to help each other solve the challenges we are encountering.
Pretty intuitive stuff. So we went on to another quote:
Say: no man can attain his true station except through his justice. No power can exist except through unity. No welfare and no well-being can be attained except through consultation. ~ Bahá’u’llah
For the first sentence, “No man can attain his true station except through his justice,” We decided that your true station is your true self – the best version of you. And we decided that the basic definition of justice is to be fair. So, this sentence says that the only way to attain the best version of yourself is by treating everyone fairly.
An example of this? One of the young women volunteered that her parents explained to her that people who steal things are unhappy people. The money they stole doesn’t mean anything to them, so they spend it wantonly, and find no happiness in it. But people who earn their money honestly and live a good life appreciate what they have and attain happiness.
What about the next sentence, “No power can exist except through unity”?
Easy. Think of a sports team. Unless the team members learn how to work together, they will never get anywhere. Learning to work together and cooperate is unity. Working to include everyone is also unity.
And finally, “No welfare and no well-being can be attained except through consultation.”
(I’m going to be honest here, and admit that I have forgotten the great example that one of the young women gave. Shucks. I can remember the example I gave, though… I guess it just goes to show that all of us, me included, need to work on our consultation skills! :-))
I’m sure that you can think of a bunch of examples of how talking things over together is necessary to achieving well-being. Those problems that seem such sticklers – the decisions that seem so overwhelming – the confusion that seems impenetrable – talking it over with someone you trust can help shine a light on things.
The example I thought of for the need for consultation had to do with our junior youth group itself. As we plan service projects, if we don’t consult, how are we even going to know what the problems are that we are trying to solve? Especially if we’re working within our own neighborhood, where we can’t check a manual or go online or find something established to tell us what our challenges are… If we don’t talk to people, how will we know what’s really going on?
So, throughout our endeavors as a junior youth group, increasing our skills for consultation will be a common thread that unites all of our diverse activities. Please stay tuned, and share with us your experience in increasing your skills for consultation!